Why Jeff Sessions Has To Do What Big Tobacco Tells Him To Do

Why Jeff Sessions Has To Do What Big Tobacco Tells Him To Do

Why Jeff Sessions Has To Do What Big Tobacco Tells Him To Do

jeff session and tobacco

It’s no secret that America’s new Attorney General, the honorable Jeff Sessions, is a vehement anti-marijuana spokesperson, and in staying true to the general form of Trump’s slapstick presidential office, the former Senator continues to make headlines time and time again for his sentiments regarding the legalization of cannabis.

Most recently, in an address made before the National Association of Attorneys General, Sessions added to his comedic stocktake of outlandishly absurd outbursts, railing against the legalization of cannabis with his usual bigoted bombast. From his podium the former KKK admirer condemned recent pro-reefer referendum movements, praising the D.A.R.E. tuttled wisdom of the Nancy Reagans ‘Just Say No’ campaign and reinforcing his own devout belief on the serious risk involved with cannabis consumption by arguing that marijuana is only “slightly worse than heroin.”

“I think we have too much of a tolerance for drug use – psychologically, politically, morally… There’s no excuse for this, it’s not recreational, it can be destructive and it consistently is destructive.”
 

He further espoused his acutely Neanderthal sentiments by warning his peers that soon people were going to start dropping dead, “Lives are at stake…. We’re going to see and we’re already seeing the death and destruction that results from the prevalence of drugs in America and the argument’s not going to be too hard to win in the months to come — people will see too many of the people they know losing their lives.”

His dogmatic reefer mentality fundamentalism was best displayed during the address when, with no small amount of ridicule he exclaimed, “I’m astonished to hear people suggest we can solve our heroin crisis — have you heard this? — by having more marijuana. I mean, how stupid is that! Give me a break! I reject the idea that we’re going to be better placed if we have more marijuana and you can just go down to the corner grocery store and get it — This is high purity THC content marijuana and it’s not a healthy substance, particularly for young people.”

session on marijuana

Where do you get this privy info Jeff? Clown school?

Aside from the proven fact that countless opiate addicts worldwide have sourced marijuana as a tool to overcome their vice, and only slightly less disturbing than the fact that the Chief Adjudicator of the United States of America seems completely oblivious as to the proper legal channels through which marijuana can be purchased, is the fact that Jeff Sessions, a shill for big tobacco companies, would be so arrogant as to vilify a non-toxic, non-lethal drug when the multi-billion dollar corporations that he has crawled into bed with peddle their wares in every grocery store across the nation.

What am I talking about?

I’m glad you asked.

See, the tobacco industry played a pivotal role in Sessions rise to the Senate in 1996. In fact, R.J. Reynolds, the manufacturers of Camel cigarettes donated so much money to his campaign that his staff had to send some back because they had received more than was legally allowed.

Whether Sessions felt obligated to the companies that had bolstered his career so much, or whether he genuinely felt that the tobacco industry was subject to harsh and unfair penalties, he spent much of his early career proposing bills that would lessen the damage caused by punitive lawsuits filed by pissed off states that were paying through-the-roof healthcare costs due to smoking related diseases.

On multiple occasions the big tobacco defender nearly derailed multi-billion-dollar settlement deals that tobacco companies had been ordered to pay, referring to the lawsuits as “extortion” and “shakedowns.”

cigarrettes and cannabis

One such attempted high-jacking of justice came when several states banded together to file a joint lawsuit in 1997, The Master Settlement Agreement, in which decades of documents were presented before the court which exposed the knowledge that the tobacco industry knew tobacco was addictive (contradicting sworn testimony by every major tobacco exec in 1994), that tobacco was harmful to health (another thing that the industry denied for decades), and that the tobacco industry was explicitly targeting kids with their advertising.

Surprisingly enough, the same man who cites the health hazards of marijuana and its inherent risk to the youth of the nation as a just cause for its prohibition saw no problem with this revelation of deceit. Instead he tried to stalemate the 50-billion-dollar lawsuit with an amendment that would cap how much money lawyers could make from suing tobacco companies in an effort to hamper these legal efforts that were pursuing the tobacco industry.

His amendment was narrowly defeated by a two vote margin.

Jeff Sessions continued to oppose the FDA regulation of tobacco as a drug, using everything from free speech arguments to heated pro-business lingo until 2009 when the FDA was finally granted regulatory authority over the product.

I’m sure by now this collective of information has you scratching your head- I know I was completely blown away by the rife inconsistency presented in our Attorney Generals actions. I’m reminded again of the above referenced statement by the former Senator, “I think we have too much of a tolerance for drug use – psychologically, politically, morally… There’s no excuse for this, it’s not recreational, it can be destructive and it consistently is destructive.”

Funny you should mention that Jeff… I agree.

pipe

Tobacco is a drug that is the perpetrator for a smorgasbord of potentially deadly diseases that can affect every organ and essential bodily function. Tobacco is directly responsible for over 480,000 deaths per year in America alone- more than drug overdoses, vehicular deaths, Aids deaths, alcohol related deaths and gun violence deaths combined- yet it’s regulation disgusts you?

If one thing is clear about the gap between Jeff Sessions stance on marijuana in comparison to his stance on tobacco it is that he is far less concerned about the health of the public than he is about reigniting the glory days of the “war on drugs.” Just so long as those drugs don’t include tobacco that is. You know, the one that actually is detrimental to your health.

Don’t take my word for it though..as Jeff has previously warned us, “Good people don’t smoke pot,” so can you trust my word?

Maybe, maybe not. 

That being said, do you think you can trust the word of a “good person” like Sessions?

I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Gotta run for now,

Peace,

James.

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Published at Fri, 24 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Oregon Senate approves proposal to shield weed buyers' info from feds

Oregon Senate approves proposal to shield weed buyers' info from feds

SALEM, Ore. — A proposal to shield the names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers or any other identifying information of potentially thousands of recreational pot customers cleared its first major hurdle at the Oregon Legislature this week amid worries over a federal marijuana crackdown.

Senate Bill 863 — a proposal from the 10-member bipartisan committee that crafts Oregon’s marijuana policies– cleared the Senate on Tuesday and heads to the House for consideration.

The bill’s bipartisan sponsors want to put a stop to what’s become a common practice within Oregon’s budding pot industry, where legal retailers often stockpile the names, birthdates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and other private information of each recreational customer that walks through their doors. Such activity is either prohibited or discouraged in Alaska, Colorado and Washington state.

Should the proposal become law, pot retailers would have 30 days to destroy their recreational customers’ data– derived from the driver’s licenses, passports or military IDs that are used to verify patrons are at least 21– and would be banned from such record-keeping moving forward. Medical marijuana cardholders’ data would be excluded from the provisions.

Pot businesses say the data is used mostly for marketing purposes, such as email lists for promoting products with special deals and birthday discounts, which the bill would still allow in some instances if the customer voluntarily shares their name and email.

Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Republican minority leader and one of the bill’s sponsors, says it’s a major privacy concern for not only Oregon residents, but potentially federal employees, concealed-weapon permit holders and out-of-state visitors.

“I don’t have to tell you of the frequency of hacking incidents or inadvertent releases of data … the loss of this information could be damaging for many different reasons,” Ferrioli said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “We’ve heard a lot of conflicting information about the (White House) administration’s approach to cannabis.”

The mixed signals from Washington D.C. began late last month with White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who suggested a boost in enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws could be on the horizon, but only for recreational.

But last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cast doubt on the medical market by commenting that “medical marijuana has been hyped, perhaps too much.” Sessions also has said that his agency is reviewing an Obama-era memo giving states flexibility in passing marijuana laws.

Either way, any heightened enforcement of the federal marijuana prohibition would be complicated in Oregon, where most pot shops are licensed to serve both recreational and medical customers under one roof.

The proposal underway in Salem was amended last week to exclude medical pot customers, whose buying activities are closely monitored for tax purposes, product quality and consistency of the state’s tracking program, said Jonathan Lockwood, spokesman for the Senate GOP caucus.

“When you’re a medical cardholder, you opt-in to your records being kept because you have a qualifying condition that requires higher limits and potencies and certain products … So, the bill went as far as it reasonably could to protect privacy,” Lockwood said.

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Published at Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:39:43 +0000

Cannabis Treatments For Colon Cancer Patients

Cannabis Treatments For Colon Cancer Patients

Cannabis for Colon Cancer

colon cancer and cannabis

The colon, also known as the large intestine, is located in the lowe part of the digestive system. The colon is responsible for removing water and salt from the solid wastes in the body before it passes through the rectum and out the anus. Cancer of the colon is the second biggest cancer killer in both men and women in the United States.

Colon cancer cells grow from noncancerous or benign tumors, also known as adenomatous polyps which settle on the interior of the large intestine. Sometimes, these polyps can become malignant colon cancers if they aren’t removed during colonoscopy, a procedure which examines the condition of the intestine’s inner linings. If cancer cells damage healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, this can cause severe and life-threatening complications.

Colon cancer isn’t the same as rectal cancer although in some cases they occur together and this is known as colorectal cancer. The most common causes of cancer are age, genes, diets, lifestyle and habits. Other medical conditions have been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer: diabetes, radiation, and Crohn’s disease.

During the early stage of colon cancer it’s rare to experience any symptoms. However when the disease progresses, the symptoms include constipation or diarrhea, rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, pain during defecation, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, iron deficiency, and irritable bowel syndrome. If the cancer has spread, more symptoms can present itself where the new cancer cells have grown.

Colon cancer treatments will depend on the kind of cancer, its stage, the patients’ age and health status as well as other personal characteristics. The most common treatment options for colon cancer are surgery (colectomy), chemotherapy, and radiation.

How Can Cannabis Help?

CANNABIS PLANT

Colon cancer is one of the multitude of cancers that cannabis can help treat, as well as make chemotherapy or radiation treatments more bearable. A study published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine, conducted by researchers from the UK and Italy showed that cannabis extracts that contain high amounts of CBD may aid in the prevention of colon cancer spreading in mice. The “botanical drug substance” used that had high amounts of CBD was successful in inhibiting the growth of tumor cells without affecting healthy cells. The scientists also found that this action was enabled due to the activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the cells.

The study also analyzed the effect of pure CBD on colon cancer. Based on the data collected, pure CBD was effective in activating CB1 receptors which resulted in the prevention of tumor growth. The study’s authors wrote in the report: Although cannabidiol has been shown to kill glioma cells, to inhibit cancer cell invasion and to reduce the growth of breast carcinoma and lung metastases in rodents, its effect on colon carcinogenesis has not been evaluated to date. This is an important omission, since colon cancer affects millions of individuals in Western countries. In the present study, we have shown that cannabidiol exerts (1) protective effects in an experimental model of colon cancer and (2) antiproliferative actions in colorectal carcinoma cells.” In the scientific journal Current Drug Safety, clinical review data was published concluding that CBD is “non-toxic” for healthy cells.

CHEMO AND CANNABIS

Aside from helping to prevent the spread of cancer, patients with colon cancer and who are undergoing chemotherapy can also benefit from using cannabis. Patients can choose from many ways to incorporate the plant into their cancer treatment regimen. Nausea and vomiting is a common side effect of chemotherapy procedures, and can also lead to appetite loss which will deprive the patient of valuable nutrients needed to speed up their healing. Cannabis can help treat nausea and vomiting, while certain strains can also help induce appetite to help speed up the healing process for patients.

There are many anecdotal cases online of individuals who have been able to successfully treat their colon cancers in different stages using cannabis. More studies need to be conducted although this has been a huge hurdle even if CBD isn’t psychoactive because federal law states that it’s still illegal. Once there is more information on cannabis as well as the other valuable cannabinoids and their impact on colon cancer, the plant can be used to save even more lives.

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Published at Sun, 19 Mar 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Idaho Legislature Unanimously Votes to Repeal Marijuana Possession Laws for Minors

Idaho Legislature Unanimously Votes to Repeal Marijuana Possession Laws for Minors

Idaho’s Legislature has unanimously passed a proposal to repeal the state’s marijuana possession laws for minors.

Senate Bill 1013Repeals existing law relating to possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia by a minor, the use of controlled substances, and fines”, according to its official summary. It was passed by the Senate last month with a 34 to 0 vote, and passed the House of Representatives Thursday with a 70 to 0 vote. It now goes to Governor Butch Otter for consideration.

The “cleanup” measure states:

Be It  Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
         SECTION 1. That Section 18-1502C ,Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby repealed.

The full one-page bill can be found on the Idaho Legislature’s website by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Sat, 18 Mar 2017 19:27:20 +0000

Colorado congressman says he'll “fight the Attorney General” if need be on marijuana

Colorado congressman says he'll “fight the Attorney General” if need be on marijuana

DENVER — Rep. Mike Coffman is suggesting he might use the power of the purse to protect Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

During a telephone town hall Wednesday evening the Republican congressman was asked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threat to crack down on states like Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Coffman noted that he opposed the ballot measures that legalized both medical and recreational marijuana in the state. But he added that since voters approved them they are now Colorado law. He said the federal government should not interfere and he hopes Sessions doesn’t follow through on his warning.

If Sessions does take action Coffman said he’d “have to fight the Attorney General on this.” He suggested he’d do so through Congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.

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Published at Thu, 16 Mar 2017 18:07:06 +0000

Federal marijuana convictions dropped by half under Obama

Federal marijuana convictions dropped by half under Obama

The number of people sentenced for federal marijuana-related crimes dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data released this week by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

A total of 3,534 offenders received sentences for federal marijuana crimes in 2016. The overwhelming majority of these cases – 3,398 of them – involved trafficking marijuana. Another 122 individuals received federal sentences for simple possession of marijuana, although some of these offenders may have pleaded down from a more serious offense.

The commission’s statistics show that more than 97 percent of people charged with a federal crime plead guilty, rather than go to trial.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. The data show a sharp drop in the number of federal marijuana sentences the following year, down from 6,992 to 4,942.

The sale and use of marijuana for any purpose, recreational, medical or otherwise, remains a crime at the federal level even in states where it’s legal. But in 2013 the Justice Department issued guidance giving federal prosecutors leeway to ignore certain marijuana offenses, provided such behavior was otherwise in compliance with an applicable state law.

These federal numbers don’t include sentencing under state and local law, where the overwhelming majority of drug enforcement takes place. In 2015, for instance, more than a half-million people were arrested by state or local authorities for simple marijuana possession, according to FBI statistics. By contrast, only about 3,500 people received federal sentences for marijuana crimes of any sort that year.

Federal sentences for heroin have more than doubled over the past 10 years, according to the USSC, in part reflecting the current opioid epidemic. While 1,382 people received federal heroin sentences in 2007, over 2,800 were sentenced for heroin crimes last year.

But the overall number of federal heroin sentences is still low relative to most other drugs. That’s because heroin is a lot easier to smuggle: On a per-gram basis, heroin is about 26 times more valuable than marijuana, according to federal statistics from 2012. That means that small, easy to conceal heroin shipments can still be highly lucrative. (According to some estimates, the entirety of heroin consumed in a year in the United States could fit within one or two standard shipping containers.)

Heroin is a lot harder to detect, seize and charge people with than a cheaper, bulkier product like marijuana, but it’s also more dangerous. About 13,000 people overdose on heroin each year, while zero overdose on marijuana.

Much of the decrease in sentences is a function of the decisions made by individual U.S. attorneys. President Donald Trump recently fired all the remaining holdovers from the Obama administration, meaning that a new batch of prosecutors – who may have different ideas about what marijuana sentences have to do with the pursuit of justice – will soon be taking their place.

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Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 21:00:06 +0000

Colorado House OKs efforts to crack down on illegal marijuana

Colorado House OKs efforts to crack down on illegal marijuana

In a bid to crack down on drug trafficking, the Colorado House on Monday voted to put new limits on home-grown marijuana that would dramatically reduce the number of plants people can legally grow in residential areas.

The bill would impose a blanket 16-plant per home limit — whether the pot’s grown for medical or recreational purposes.

That represents a significant reduction from the current cap, which goes as high as 99 plants for medical marijuana patients and caregivers — a limit that law enforcement officials say has been exploited by large-scale, international crime organizations.

“Colorado voters did not envision massive, commercial-grade home-grow operations in residential areas and those who maintain that this is in some way permitted by the State Constitution are flat out wrong,” Police Chief John Jackson of Greenwood Village said in a statement supporting the bill. “The current limit of 99 plants is a massive loophole in our state law that attracts criminal elements from across our nation in search of a quick buck.”

Licensed caregivers could still grow more than 16 plants under the bill, but they would have to grow the excess number in areas zoned for large-scale, commercial grows.

The measure — and a companion bill that the House gave a preliminary nod on Monday — is part of a broad effort this session by Gov. John Hickenlooper to step up the state’s enforcement of the gray market, in which marijuana is grown legally but sold illegally.

The new limits in House Bill 1220 were approved with bipartisan support Monday, 55-10, after a flurry of amendments — one of which relaxed the proposed cap from 12 to 16 plants.

It also would allow local governments to impose further restrictions by ordinance, something many already do. Denver, for instance, has a 12-plant limit.

The bill still needs Senate approval and the governor’s signature to become law.

Also on Monday, the House gave preliminary approval to a companion measure, House Bill 1221, which would create a $6 million-a-year grant program to help local law enforcement crack down on illegal grows. It will be paid for using unspent money in the state’s marijuana cash fund, which is funded by marijuana sales taxes.

The two measures come amid growing uncertainty over how the Trump administration will handle states like Colorado that have legalized a drug that the federal government still considers an illegal, Schedule 1 narcotic.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an outspoken critic of legalizing marijuana, and Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the White House, has said to expect “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws under President Donald Trump. But it’s not yet clear what that will mean.

The hope among Colorado officials is that any efforts the state takes on its own to limit the spread of marijuana will help stave off any unwanted federal intervention.

With House Bill 1220, Colorado would bring itself closer in line with the 28 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Today, Colorado is the only state that allows more than 16 plants in a caregiver or patient’s home.

“I can think of no quicker way to jeopardize Colorado’s billion-dollar industry than to allow our state to become a significant source of marijuana in other states where it isn’t legal,” said House Majority Leader KC Becker, D-Boulder, one of the bill’s sponsors.

While the bill passed with wide bipartisan support, many lawmakers expressed deep reservations over unintended consequences.

Marijuana patients have been flooding lawmakers with complaints that the bill would restrict their access to legal medicine, and force them to buy marijuana from more expensive commercial dispensaries. The first hearing on the measure lasted until almost midnight.

“We need to do something,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Boulder, who voted no. “The question is are we casting too wide of a net?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

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Published at Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:29:54 +0000

Colorado marijuana sales holding steady with $109 million in January 2017

Colorado marijuana sales holding steady with $109 million in January 2017

Colorado marijuana shops kicked off 2017 by selling nearly $109 million in recreational and medical cannabis in January, marking a 23 percent increase from January 2016, the latest revenue data show.

The Cannabist’s calculations of state tax revenue data that dropped Thursday afternoon show that recreational marijuana sales in January 2017 totaled $77.9 million — up $21.4 million year-over-year — while the month’s medical marijuana sales were $31.1 million, a 2.8 percent decrease from January 2016.

It’s the eight consecutive month that medical and adult-use sales have topped $100 million.

It’s also the fifth consecutive month that medical sales have seen a drop. Medical marijuana sales in the state have steadily declined since setting a yearly high of $41.4 million last August, Cannabist tabulations show.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, there were 94,577 active patients on Colorado’s medical marijuana registry, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data. That was down from 100,503 patients in November, 102,914 patients in October and 107,554 patients in December 2015.

“As recreational pricing falls to the same level as medical pricing — especially for the ‘1 ounce’ quantity — the benefit of using medical dispensaries is falling to zero,” Miles Light, an economist, wrote via e-mail to The Cannabist. Light is also the co-founder of the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Group, an economic, financial and policy research and consulting firm focused on the marijuana industry.

The monthly sales equate to $17.7 million in revenue to the state from taxes and licensing fees, according to the Department of Revenue report.

Colorado’s young marijuana industry reeled in $1.3 billion in sales in 2016, a year that included a spate of record-setting summer monthly totals.

Economists have said it’s likely that the industry could outdo itself again this year, but extending those sales gains beyond 2017 would be challenging.

By 2018, the medical or recreational marijuana programs could be up-and-running in some or all of the eight states that voted in November to legalize.

“In general, the Colorado market is saturated, and soon (2018) — I predict that total sales (recreational and medical) in Colorado will decline by at least 20-30 percent — as new states legalize marijuana,” Light wrote. “Sales in Colorado are 30-40 percent higher than local resident demand, based upon MPG estimates. Those tourists will begin buying in other legal states, in 2018.”


Sales stats for Colorado weed
A month-by-month look comparing sales of recreational and medical marijuana
2017 Recreational total (1 month)
$77,870,699
2017 Medical total (1 month)
$31,124,095
2017: $108,994,794
2016 Recreational total (12 months)
$875,277,360
2016 Medical total (12 months)
$437,879,186
2016: $1,313,156,545



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Published at Fri, 10 Mar 2017 01:58:01 +0000

Jeff Sessions says fed marijuana approach “more complicated than one RICO case”

Jeff Sessions says fed marijuana approach “more complicated than one RICO case”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week that he wants to enforce federal marijuana laws in an “appropriate way” nationwide and is weighing options such as initiating Supremacy Clause and RICO prosecutions.

Sessions’ latest remarks on marijuana legalization and enforcement came during a radio interview Thursday with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

Hewitt broached the topic of marijuana by asking Sessions whether he would apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to “end this facade and the flaunting of the Supremacy Clause.”

Sessions responded in the affirmative and reiterated previous remarks about his beliefs about marijuana legalization as well as potential restraints to enforcement, according to a transcript of the interview posted on Hewitt’s website:

“We will, marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws,” Sessions said. “So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.

“And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don’t think we’re going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store.”

Asked about whether he could send a message by bringing a RICO case against one retailer, Sessions said the Justice Department is analyzing its options.

“Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that,” he said. “I think it’s a little more complicated than one RICO case, I’ve got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it’s just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it’s also being moved interstate, not just in the home state. … And neighbors (Oklahoma and Nebraska) are complaining, and filed lawsuits against them. So it’s a serious matter, in my opinion.”

To read Sessions’ full interview with Hewitt, visit HughHewitt.com.


Marijuana in the age of Trump: A Cannabist special report

Click here for a deep dive into topics including potential federal enforcement actions, the implementation of the Supremacy Clause and how the cannabis industry is changing its approach with the Trump administration.

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Published at Sat, 11 Mar 2017 01:49:46 +0000